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Written by: Hamzah Moin
I have a new convert friend. His name is Jason Hume. I’d like to mention that he’s white. And single.
I received an interesting barrage of SMS messages throughout the last few weeks from him. I wish I told him I didn’t have a texting plan… ouch to my wallet. I should have told him I couldn’t reply back as he was long distance as well. Oh well.
Received: June 3rd, 7:32pm
Dude. This is it. I’m going to embrace Islam. I’m driving to the mosque right now. I shouldn’t be texting while I’m driving or else –
Received: June 3rd, 7:40pm
Bad start. Just got pulled over by the cops for texting while driving. I should stop but I can’t LOL.
Received: June 3rd, 7:45pm
The police officer is telling me I’m addicted to texting and should seek professional help. He’s getting angrier but I need to tell someone all this NOW.
Received: June 3rd, 7:46pm
$155 fine. Ouch. Friggin pigs. Good thing I’m becoming Muslim.
Received: June 3rd, 7:47pm
Didn’t expect him to check my phone. Just got another fine for $100 because of the pig comment. Didn’t know they had tickets for that. He threatened to take my phone away if I don’t stop. Text you when I get to the mosque.
Received: June 3rd, 7:55pm
Why did the mosque buy its property adjacent to the Adults Only Video store and Johnny’s Pub? I’m assuming the property next to the Casino was taken?
Received: June 3rd, 7:58pm
Just arrived. Smells like feet in here. One guy just approached me and said “Sorry sir, the Adults Only store is next door.”
Received: June 3rd, 7:59pm
I walked in with my shoes on and some guy started screaming at me in Urdu. I thought this was just a way of welcoming me to Islam so I started screaming back louder.
Received: June 3rd, 8:01pm
I think I got kicked out of the mosque.
Received: June 3rd, 8:02:pm
Maybe there’s another entrance. Let me try the back entrance.
Received: June 3rd, 8:04pm
I guess this is the women’s entrance. I could have sworn this was a closet…
Received: June 3rd, 8:06pm
Kicked out again.
Received: June 3rd, 8:08pm
Imam has just arrived and seems cool. He’s taking me inside.
Received: June 3rd, 8:15pm
I told the imam that I’m converting. He gave me a hug for 6 minutes straight.
Received: June 3rd, 8:16pm
Received: June 3rd, 8:18pm
Finally done. Imam said he’s going to take me to the large congregation that is there for sunset prayer and take the Shahada “Declaration of faith”.
Received: June 3rd, 8:20pm
Why does everyone have this weird grin on their faces? Where are the girls at? I’m just curious.
Received: June 3rd, 8:23pm
Why is everyone shouting “BEER”? I thought that was Haram.
Received: June 3rd, 8:25pm
Wow everyone is hugging me and greeting me. I didn’t know what to do so I started giving autographs to a few people. Was that bad?
Received: June 3rd, 8:27pm
Someone just called me a big baby and pinched my cheeks. What the hell?
Received: June 3rd, 8:29pm
Another baby comment. What’s going on? It took me 2 months to grow out this peach fuzz so I definitely look manly.
Received: June 3rd, 8:31pm
Oh, I get it. New convert = starting anew. Like a baby. Ah. Clever. They didn’t have to put a bib on me to make the point though.
Received: June 3rd, 8:31pm
Six different people asked me to relay my story about finding Islam. I had to make-up half of it because it’s kind of embarrassing. Each of them just said “mashAllah” at the end of the story and patted me on the head.
Received: June 3rd, 8:35pm
It looks like it’s time for Sunset. I better go to the back and observe the prayer.
Received: June 3rd, 8:37pm
Uh okay. Apparently they want me to learn through experience. Prayer is starting. It’s a good thing I watched enough YouTube videos on this.
Received: June 3rd, 8:39pm
I’m not supposed to be texting you while in prayer right? This is a no-no?
Received: June 3rd, 8:41pm
Oh I know this part. Aaaaaameeeeeen. Why is the guy next to me raising his hand to slap my ph-
Received: June 3rd, 8:49pm
Prayer finished a while ago. I had to grab my phone from a 4-year old kid who took it and nearly flushed it down the toilet.
Received: June 3rd, 8:50pm
The imam has told the congregation to stay put and that he has something to say “about the new convert”
Received: June 3rd, 8:51pm
Massive applause when the imam brought out a whiteboard which says “Total Conversions” and he erased 7 and put 8.5. What are they implying by that?
Received: June 3rd, 8:53pm
Imam just gave me a book: “Muslim Prayer for the Recently Converted”. Oh… the Imam is the author. This seems to be printed in Microsoft Word. It looks like his kid drew all the illustrations.
Received MMS: June 3rd, 8:53pm
Received: June 3rd, 8:54pm
I complimented his kid’s drawings to which the imam said “These drawings took me three days to draw.”
Received: June 3rd, 8:57pm
An older Egyptian gentleman, Abdullah, gave me his phone number and said he’ll be my support and that I can ask him any questions.
Received: June 3rd, 8:59pm
I’m going to go home and come back tomorrow
Received: June 4th:, 3:30am
Abdullah the Egyptian guy just called me to wake me up for the Sunrise prayer. “Gayson, time to wake up for Fagr”. I shouldn’t have yelled at him like that.
Received: June 4th, 8:00am
Time to start my first full day as a Muslim. It’s also Friday! Juma is today!
Received: June 4th, 9:43am
I got a call from Abdullah. He forgave my tirade from last night because “I’m a new convert”. This convert card could be pretty handy.
Received: June 4th, 12:50pm
Abdullah picked me up to go to the masjid for Juma.
Received: June 4th, 12:58pm
Abdullah dropped me off and went to park his car. I decided to test out my “Convert Card” and walked into the sisters section by “accident”. This time I was greeted with giggles.
Received: June 4th, 1:04pm
Arrived at the Masjid lobby. People are still coming up to me and asking me how I came to Islam. I can’t remember what I said last night so I made up a new story since I still don’t want people to know the truth.
Received: June 4th, 1:14pm
I’m still getting a ton of people grinning and smiling at me. Abdullah has wrapped his arm around mine like a prom date.
Received: June 4th, 1:16pm
Some more people have asked about “How I found Islam” story. Uh oh. I’m starting to forget what I said last night. I should have wrote it down on my hand.
Received: June 4th, 1:18pm
An older Arab man just came up to me and asked if I could marry his daughter. Before I could speak, Abdullah spoke on my behalf: “Gayson isn’t ready to get married now”. The Arab man laughed a hearty laugh.
Received: June 4th, 1:19pm
I told Abdullah that I do want to get married. Abdullah patted me on the head and gripped his arm tighter around me.
Received: June 4th, 1:21pm
An angry looking Muslim told me I shouldn’t wear my shirt because it was red and it’s bad to wear red and that I looked like Shaytaan. Maybe I shouldn’t have worn my New Jersey Devils hockey jersey to the mosque.
Received: June 4th, 1:22pm
Someone else just smiled at me and welcomed me to Islam. Great. They also said my pants are too long. I rolled them up.
Received: June 4th, 1:24pm
The man who made the comments about my pants came back and said my pants are hiked up too high. I guess I shouldn’t hike them up to my knees? I knew there was a dress code but this seems crazy.
Received: June 4th, 1:25pm
I was just introduced to the masjid’s “7th” Convert. His name is Anthony. Abdullah said we should be friends because “we’re both converts”.
Received: June 4th, 1:26pm
Anthony just gave me the cut-eye and walked away. I guess we can’t be friends.
Received: June 4th, 1:27pm
Another brother tried approaching me to give me his number for support. Abdullah caught wind of this, pushed me back and yelled at the brother. “He’s mine! Back off!”
Received: June 4th, 1:29pm
Juma is starting. I am recording the khutbah on my tape recorder. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to do that so I’ll just put it in my pocket.
Received: June 4th, 1:35pm
Really angry guy starting the khutbah. I think he’s the guest khateeb.
Received: June 4th, 1:45pm
How come whenever he mentions “the kuffar” in the khutbah, he looks directly at me?
Received: June 4th, 1:51pm
I shifted my position and my tape recorder just fell out of my pocket. Someone beside me whispered “CIA spy” under his breath and got up to pick a different spot.
Received: June 4th, 1:53pm
Khateeb is now going off on a tangent about people who are texting during khutbahs. Oh wait.
Received: June 4th, 1:54pm
The Imam asked a rhetorical question, “How many of us cry during our prayers?”
I answered “Nobody!” thinking I would get some sort of bonus point for interacting in the khutbah.
Received: June 4th, 1:55pm
The khateeb is now going off on a tangent about people who talk during the khutbah.
Received: June 4th, 1:59pm
Prayer starting. Will recap tomorrow
Received: June 5th, 11:12am
I think I’m officially known as the “new convert” at the mosque. I think only Abdullah knows my name and he can’t even say it correctly.
Received: June 5th, 11:14am
Abdullah is taking me to the masjid for some sort of lunch potluck.
Received: June 5th, 11:17am
I walked into the masjid and the uncle who yelled at me in Urdu on my first day, yelled at me again for walking in with my left foot.
Received: June 5th, 11:19am
Abdullah walked me into the mosque, still awkwardly arm-in-arm with him. Anthony saw me from the distance and gave me another cut-eye. I smiled back.
Received: June 5th, 11:21am
The brother that tried hooking me up with his daughter approached me again and said I should marry Convert #4 and he pointed me to her. I said “She looks like she’s 30 years older than I am” and he replied “but you’re both converts so it makes sense”
Received: June 5th, 11:21am
I asked if his daughter was still available and he mumbled something about “stability” and “family connection” and walked away awkwardly.
Received: June 5th, 11:26am
Some more people asked me my “convert” story. I forgot what I said the last few days so I made up a new story.
Received: June 5th, 11:28am
I think I had a repeat customer. He said my stories both days were different and demanded the real reason I came to Islam. I gave him the truth. That I saw a quote from Prophet Muhammad (SAW) on a Starbucks cup.
Received: June 5th, 11:30am
The entire lobby became silent. They became an angry mob and said my Shahada wasn’t valid because Starbucks gives money to Israel and my Shahada was tainted. I had to take it again.
Received: June 5th, 11:31am
I became a Muslim a second time in two days.
Received: June 5th, 11:37am
It seems my cute “I’m a new Convert” thing isn’t working anymore. I have to BUY the lunch today.
Received: June 5th, 11:39am
People don’t smile at me like they used to. Pearly whites have turned into frowns.
Received: June 5th, 11:41am
Come to think of it, everyone seems to greet everyone with frowns.
Received: June 5th, 11:43am
The imam is coming in. It looks like he brought someone with him…
Received: June 5th, 11:48am
They just announced that there is going to a new person embracing Islam. Cool.
Received: June 5th, 11:52am
And we officially got a new Muslim. His name is Ivan. The whiteboard has been changed from “8.5 converts” to “9.5”.
Received: June 5th, 11:54am
Everyone is greeting the new convert. Ton of smiles. Ivan sure is getting a lot of attention… many people are pinching his cheeks and someone put on the ceremonial bib.
Received: June 5th, 11:56am
The marry-my-daughter guy asked Ivan if he could marry his daughter to him. Abdullah was somehow already behind Ivan and told him “No, Ivan isn’t ready to get married.”
Received: June 5th, 11:59am
Another brother tried offering support to Ivan which Abdullah replied, “BACK OFF! He’s mine!”
Received: June 5th, 12:02pm
Ivan’s eyes met mine. He smiled. I gave him cut-eye.
Received: June 5th, 12:05pm
Someone asked Ivan how he came to Islam. He said “I read the Qur’an online and was hooked.” Crowd went awwww. Someone said “At least it wasn’t from a Starbucks cup.”
Received: June 5th, 12:07pm
I asked Abdullah for a ride home. He said “his car is full” and he has to take Ivan home. I walked 10 miles towards my house. Realizing I put the wrong shoes on, I walked back.
Received: June 5th, 1:31pm
Finally made it back to the masjid. They were the imam’s shoes.
Received: June 5th, 1:31pm
As I walked in, someone approached me and said “Sorry sir, the Adults Only store is next door.”